Photos: The Birth of a Fly Fisherman

Written by: Preston Ailor


Not bad for a first fly-rod fish, although the rod-in-mouth look has to go.
Photo by Preston Ailor

Brent is already a good fisherman. But at lunchtime this winter, I talked about fly fishing so much that he decided he’d give it a try. I offered to let him borrow one of my back-up outfits, but he already knew he wanted his own. At my recommendation, he bought the 8-weight Encounter outfit, which I consider the gateway drug into fly fishing. I’ve been riding around with my Recon in my truck, so that when I had a little bit of time after work, I could do some casting practice. Brent joined me.

On March 17, it was 72 degrees and sunny, so we decided to do some actual fishing. He brought his daughter along, and she was pretty excited too (future fly girl I hope). It was windy, so casting for the newbie was tough. I just kept repeating what my dad said to me: “Fly fishing takes ten minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.” Now that I think about it, I abhorred it when dad said that after I messed up a cast. I’m sure it didn’t help Brent either. Undeterred, he kept plunking the CK Baitfish pattern out there.


Brent’s daughter was excited to see her dad’s catch, perhaps kickstarting her fly-fishing passion, as well.
Photo by Preston Ailor

Strip, pause. . .strip, pause…strip, DOINK! He strip-set his first bass and played the fish like he had done it hundreds of times before. He got the hero shot, and he kept right on fishing. (I made him put the rod in his mouth, something I do to all of my friends on their first fish on the fly because it makes me laugh.) I had to leave to pick up my little girl, but as I left he was switching flies and continued walking the first leg of this lifelong obsession I call fly fishing.

Preson Ailor is from the Northern Neck of Virginia, the peninsula between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers. He writes about fly fishing on his blog, Discovery on the Fly . He previously wrote about his “20 September Days” experience and good bass fishing in Texas. Check out his blog Discovery on the Fly.

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